(2143) Tringa ochrophus.
THE GREEN SANDPIPER.
Tringa ochrophus Linn., Syst. Nat.. 10th ed., i, p. 149 (1758) (Sweden). Totanus ochropus. Blanf. & Oates, iv, p. 262.
Vernacular names. Nella ulanka (Tel.).
Description. - Breeding plumage. Upper part and sides of head, back and sides of neck brown, each feather edged with white; mantle brown with a bronze-green gloss, spotted with white,, some of the scapulars with blackish marks between the white spots; lower back and rump blackish-brown with narrow white fringes; upper tail-coverts white; tail with the concealed base white, the rest barred black and white ; innermost wing-coverts and secondaries like the back ; other coverts brown with the same gloss as the back ; remaining wing-quills dark brown; chin, throat and whole under parts white, the fore-neck, breast and flanks streaked and barred with dark brown.
Colours of soft parts. Iris brown; bill dull greenish, black at the tip; legs and feet dull greenish-brown or olive-green.
Measurements. Wing, 135 to 150 mm., 141 to 154 mm. tail 54 to 60 mm.; tarsus 32 to 33 mm,; culmen 33 to 36 mm.
In Winter the head and hind-neck are uniform brown, sometimes with a greyish tinge; the spots on the back are smaller and very inconspicuous whilst, generally, the upper head is more grey-brown with less-developed streaks.
Young birds in the first moult have narrow bronze margins to the feathers of the upper parts; the bands on the base of the tail are narrower and the terminal band broader.
Nestling. Above deep cinnamon-pink ; crown and a line from the bill black, the crown mottled with cinnamon ; a black dorsal line from nape to tail-tuft; two lateral black bands on each side of this ; a second lateral black line across the wings and from the wings round the uropygium ; upper breast cinnamon, remaining underparts white.
Distribution. Throughout Northern Europe and Asia in the breeding-season and migrating South in Winter to Africa, India, China, the Indo-Chinese countries and Malaya.
Nidification. The Marsh-Sandpiper breeds in Northern Germany, the Baltic States etc. in April and May, whilst in the most Northern latitudes no eggs will be found until the second week in June and from that time to the middle of July. The sites selected are usually not in the open but in swampy forest or in the marshy tundras covered by stunted pine, beach and alders, where this bird lays its eggs, not in depressions in the ground like most Sandpipers, but in old nests of Thrushes, Fieldfares or Redwings. Occasionally the eggs may be deposited in well-lined hollows or in little heaps of debris but this is very exceptional. The eggs, four in number as usual, are broad peg-top ovals, with a ground-colour of pale yellowish or greenish-stone, more seldom of yellowish-buff. The marks consist of rather small specks and spots of dark reddish-brown with secondary marks of lavender. For Waders' eggs they are decidedly pale and poorly marked. One hundred eggs (eighty-two, Jourdain) average 39.0 x 27.9 mm.: maxima 420 x 28.0 and 41.1 x 30.3 mm.; minima 34.6 X 26.0 and 34.8 x 25.5 mm.
Habits. The Green Sandpiper is extremely common in Northern India and Northern Burma, gradually becoming less common to the South but wandering as far as Ceylon and the Malay Peninsula. It may be found wherever there is water and mud and even on the clean quick-running streams at the foot of hilly country. It is usually solitary or in pairs and may be seen running rapidly here and there after the insects on which it principally feeds, jumping into the air when disturbed, twisting rapidly as it mounts and, then, dashing off with great speed. It is a shy little bird as a rule and does not allow a very close approach but clears off uttering its musical little whistle, " twi-twi-twi."